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BBC George Entwistle News

George Entwistle resigns as BBC Director General

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By Stephen Lepitak | -

November 10, 2012 | 3 min read

The director general of the BBC George Entwistle has resigned in a quickly assembled announcement this evening.

The resignation of Entwistle was announced outside the BBC's Broadcasting House this evening and was made between the BBC and the BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten.

Patten is the one who appointed Entwistle as Mark Thompson's successor earlier this year when he was director of BBC Vision.

The resignation follows the airing of a Newsnight report that wrongly identified Lord McAlpine as being involved in sexual abuse at a care home in North Wales.

Entwistle said: "In the light of the fact that the director general is also the editor-in-chief and ultimately responsible for all content, and in the light of the unacceptable journalistic standards of the Newsnight film broadcast on Friday 2 November, I have decided that the honourable thing to do is to step down from the post of director general."

He added that he was proud to have been director general, even if just for a short period.

Lord Patten said that Enwistle's resignation came as a result of the 'unnecceptable, shoddy journalism' within the Newsnight report.

Tim Davies, Chief executive of BBC Worldwide and former senior marketer at PepsiCo, will take on the role of acting director general as the process of interviewing potential successors begins next week.

"I think George Enwistle has acted extremely honourably," concluded Patten of Entwisle's decision. He described the announcement as "one of the saddest nights of his public life."

Enwistle was in the job of director general for 54 days, and has spent the majority of those days discussing the Jimmy Savile scandal, launching two linked investigations into sexual abuse at the BBC over previous decades and the decision to scrap a Newsnight investigation exposing Savile last Christmas.

He has been accused of failing to ask important questions over journalistic decision being made and lacking an awareness over the editorial output at the BBC having admitted to not asking why the Newsnight story was not broadcast, or seeing the Newsnight broadcast this week, which falsely linked Lord McAlpine to claims of sexual abuse in advance of broadcast.

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